A comprehensive list of events was posted in the Daily Times and online at www.smokymountains.org. The emphasis was the history of the area, and mountain music was predominant. Mom and I attended Friday afternoon’s, “Music of the Mountains” by Great Smoky Mountains National Park Park Ranger Lisa Free. It was a combination of lecture on the oral traditions of passing music down or along, playing various instruments and some singing and foot tapping! Instruments were made out of just about anything and there was a definite bias about which sex could play what instrument. For instance, a 150 years ago you normally would not see a
woman playing the fiddle or banjo as Ranger Free and Visitor Center’s Manager of Partnership Events, Jeanie Hilten, are doing in this photograph. They would have been considered “loose”! I knew Townsend was a hot bed of emancipated women!
In addition to all of the events listed above, Steve Fillmore of Miss Lily’s Cafe and the Lily Barn decided to test the waters to see if there would be interest in holding an annual craft beer festival in Townsend. National beer sales are in decline overall, but craft beer sales are on the upswing as interest grows. The event was held on Saturday at Laurel Valley Restaurant and Golf Course and was a sold out. Attendee’s were effusive in their praise! Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast
This photo shows a fraction of the tents set up at the 8th annual TroutFest 2011, held in Townsend, TN. A rousing success, as always, the festival is one of the largest of its kind in the country and the biggest in the Southeast. It’s hosted by the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited to benefit trout stream preservation and restoration. Last year they netted $45,000 that was donated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department. This year, the festival had around 4,000 attendees including the guests staying at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, our Smoky Mountain Inn. Although the sport of fly fishing is enjoyed by men and women alike, I’m here to say I have never seen so many solo men in the 30 to 60 age bracket, gathered in one spot in my life. Their minds however, were on 6 legged insect nymphs as in the “#12 George Nymph,” rather than the 2 legged nymphs of the goddess variety!
Top fly fishing vendors in the nation were represented along with some of the best known headliners like Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Zach Matthews and Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis. This year heralded the premier issue of the TroutFest Journal which was clutched to bosoms like my grannie’s Bible on a Sunday morning. Friday night had a reservation only banquet, and Saturday & Sunday was chock full of clinics, demonstrations, and heavy duty shopping. Maybe the most fun was the Kid’s Casting Clinic, but the most original was the brain child of Paula Begley of Little River Outfitters. She calls it a “6 hole course,” that was a casting competition at six different stations with paper mache rocks, waterfalls, rhododendron bushes and other assorted obstacles. She hopes to do a 9 hole course next year, and I plan on spending more time scoping it out. mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and BreakfastRead More
The Fiber Arts Festival was held this past weekend at the Townsend Visitor Center amid beautiful spring weather. This is one of the smaller Townsend, TN festivals, but the attendees make up for the smaller numbers with enthusiasm and there is nothing like parking only 50 feet away from activities for guests at our Smoky Mountain Lodging!
While the Visitor Center grounds held exhibits, demonstrations, a few vendors, sheep shearing and Border collie sheep-herding, the Townsend Elementary School held a marketplace of vendors selling their wares. Fish Lady and Friends Gallery also had exhibits and a Friday evening reception.
The Border collie sheep-herding was amazing. This is not your neighborhood dog chasing a flock of geese! While the handler gave commands by blowing on a whistle, man’s best friend did exactly what his owner wanted him to do quietly and swiftly. That pooch had those sheep weaving around posts, hither and yon, and right into the pen. We were told that each dog reacts to the sound of his owner/handler blowing on their whistle not necessarily to someone else, like their spouse blowing on their whistle to their dog.
As much as I enjoyed the Border collie’s working, I have to say the sheep shearing was my favorite. You just have to wonder if that sheep felt like I do getting a pedicure cause it kind of just laid back like a blob with it’s eyes shut most of the time. You come at most four legged creatures with a buzzing razor and it is not going to be a pretty sight so either Dean Fritz of Murfreesboro, TN really is at the top of his game or sheep really like “getting a load off their backs”!
You could watch folks spinning the wool into yarn, weaving, and all manner of “fiber” crafts. Sue Mason of Maryville was kind enough to give me written directions for getting the fleece, wool shorn from the sheep, to the ball of yarn stage. It’s a time consuming process and gives me a new respect for woolen garments whether they be knitted, crochet or woven. Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill
Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th, 2011, all day 9AM to 10PM, at the Townsend Visitor Center, bluegrass jam sessions, guided wildflower walks, the young pickers talent contest, storytelling, arts and crafts, food and cast iron cookery.Read More
Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival Thursday March 17th through Saturday the 19th, at the Townsend Visitor Center and Townsend Elementary School, Townsend TN.
To paraphrase the Daily Times Newspaper-
…hosted by the Townsend Artisan Guild and Fine Arts Blount, will feature fiber animal exhibitions, including Border Collie Sheep Herding, Sheep-Sheering, Sheep to Shawl Demos, an Arts Exhibition, workshops, educational demonstrations of fiber processes, spinning, weaving, needle crafts, dyeing, hands on projects with children and adults.Read More